The ESG renewal of the marine industry

  • 30/01/2024
  • 11 minutes

The maritime sector is one of the backbones of the global economy, connecting nations and enabling the seamless flow of goods around the world. In recent years, the segment has been observing a series of profound transformations in its way of operating, greatly driven by the currents of innovation and sustainability. 

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Therefore, shipyards around the world play a key role. “The renewal of the industry passes through here. Our commitment to reducing the carbon footprint, technological advances and operational efficiency impacts the entire sector”, says Jullian Souza, commercial coordinator of the Wilson Sons Shipyards.

In Brazil, Wilson Sons Shipyards are at the forefront of this movement, presenting solutions that go far beyond the traditional boundaries of vessel construction, repair and maintenance. “We invest heavily in innovation, always combining it with sustainability gains. This has placed us in a unique position to lead this transformation.”

With the significant increase in the level of investments of shipping companies and the reheating of the offshore energy market, the scenario is one of growth. “The future of the maritime industry is promising.” Check out the following interview and discover how the cradle of vessels already anticipates the future of navigation.

Where the shipbuilding industry is renewed

Shipyards are industrial facilities where the construction, repair and maintenance of vessels such as ships, tugboats, offshore platforms and other marine structures take place. Equipped with tools, machinery and specialized labor, they play a fundamental role as they are the cradle of the entire maritime and port industry.

This industry, which currently concentrates 90% of all international trade flow, according to data from the World Trade Organization (WTO), is in full transformation: the green wave of sustainability has brought with it a number of new drivers that shipping companies around the world are actively pursuing.

However, this is where the pressure to reduce the carbon footprint, by the implementation of technologies capable of increasing productivity and ensuring even more operational safety, are more latent, says the executive. “The attention that each shipyard gives to these agendas is decisive. The vessel that leaves here is the direct reflection of our commitment. Therefore, shipping companies around the world are strengthening partnerships with shipyards that have synergy with these subjects.”With a history of more than 80 years of operation within the largest port complex in Latin America, the Port of Santos (SP), Wilson Sons Shipyards stand out for having a robust infrastructure, consisting of two facilities that total an impressive 39,000 m², and for their dedication to adding sustainability and innovation to their activities.

“We are at the forefront of technologies that pave the way for maritime sustainability. Our advantage is being able to share this vision with our partners.”

With the only dry dock in the region, the shipyards are recognized as the largest Brazilian builder of tugboats. “These vessels are characterized by small size, powerful engines, high maneuverability and azimuth thrusters, which have the ability to rotate 360 degrees around their vertical axis. We are currently building a new fleet, also for Wilson Sons, which follows the IMO TIER III international standard and, therefore, will emit 70% less nitrogen oxides into the atmosphere and consume up to 14% less fuel. In this way, we were able to contribute to the sustainable development of our entire industry”, explains the executive. 

As a member of the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), an international organization focused on proactive management of carbon footprint reduction, Wilson Sons has an above average performance for its segment. Much of this is the result of its environmental initiatives, which are also disclosed voluntarily through its Sustainability Report, which follows the recommendations of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). One of them is the commitment to the construction of more sustainable vessels and the decarbonization of its activities:

“By investing in more sustainable building processes, we are aligned with global environmental conservation challenges and our partners’ growing expectations for greener solutions.”

These solutions are developed in conjunction with the entire maritime and port ecosystem, the executive points out. If, on the one hand, the new tugboat fleet brings proactive management in the application of technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, on the other hand, it also has even more powerful engineering and hydrodynamics resources, expanding its maneuverability, an especially valuable resource for operating in narrow channels, such as the Port of Santos itself. 

Acting in synergy with other company businesses, as well as with innovation hubs and regulatory institutions, the shipyards support the renewal of the industry also by adding innovation in the vessel construction process. “We invest heavily in innovation, always combining it with sustainability gains. This has placed us in a unique position to lead this transformation.”

Wilson Sons Shipyards: strategic partner for the future of shipping 

Rewriting the history of navigation with the letters ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance), Wilson Sons Shipyards have invested in an advisory stance, supporting the construction and maintenance strategy of vessels with environmentally friendly drivers. “We prioritize the experience of our partners, delivering new values that go far beyond operational efficiency. Offering more innovative and sustainable solutions is what leverages solid and lasting relationships.”As the maritime industry seeks to adopt clean technologies and sustainable practices, shipyards emerge as strategic partners for the future of shipping, not only by building vessels, but also by building a future where operational efficiency and environmental responsibility go hand in hand, such as the recent signing of memoranda with their partner network.

“We are building a new path for the Brazilian maritime industry, one vessel at a time.”

Adopting a close relationship with startups in the sector, better known as shiptechs, Wilson Sons is a partner of Cubo Itaú, the largest technological entrepreneurship center in Latin America, and founded Cubo Maritime & Port, the first innovation hub dedicated to the sector in the region. Recently, the partnership resulted in the launch of ArTeMIS, a real-time vessel monitoring software developed in partnership with Argonáutica, a Brazilian startup that is part of the hub and has even received contributions from the company in the last year. “With this solution, the vessel commander will have access to pre-established alarms in emergency situations. In addition, its integration with external data sources provides, for example, the monitoring of hyperlocal weather conditions, such as tide, current and wind, and the understanding of how these variables affect navigation, productivity and safety of operations”, says the executive.

Strategically located near the largest Pre-Salt Basins, Wilson Sons Shipyards also have an undeniable vocation to support the offshore energy sector. With the announcement of new investments, the prospect is for growth, says the executive. “This resumption is encouraging. The energy sector is extremely strategic for the sustainable development of Brazil, and being able to support the green transformation of offshore vessels is a privilege. Here, we have already manufactured more than 20 PSVs (Platform Supply Vessel), 2 OSRVs (Oil Spill Recovery Vessel) and 1 ROVSV (Remotely Operated Vehicle Vessel) being the most technological that operate in operations of this type.”

About the future, Souza is optimistic. “The reheating of the offshore market and the increase in the flow of navigation on the Brazilian coast point to a growth both in the construction of new vessels and in the maintenance of current ones. With the prioritization of the industry to ESG themes, the synergy that we can provide to all our partners is strengthened. The future of the maritime industry is promising.”

Would you like to know more about how Wilson Sons Shipyards can support your business? Request contact from one of our experts today.